Monday, February 20, 2023

When the Smoke Cleared by Bill Powers - Book Tour + Giveaway


Book Details:

Book Title When the Smoke Cleared (A Murder Mystery in Malden) by Bill Powers
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction (18 +),  400 pages
Genre:  True Crime
Publisher:  PowersCourt Press
Release date:  Oct, 2022
Content Rating:  PG-13 Some violence some profanity
Book Description:

There is no greater distinction or responsibility for a law enforcement officer than to be selected to investigate homicides. The same is true for a prosecutor. It is analogous to a call up to the big leagues where the curveballs or slapshots are frequent and more challenging, the lights are brighter, the audience larger and louder, and the scrutiny and demand for perfection can at times be a bit overwhelming.

This story follows an extraordinary murder investigation from the crime scene through to the arrest and into the courtroom. It is narrated by retired Detective Lieutenant Bill Powers, the former commander of the State Police Detective Unit for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts: 

"When the smoke from the fire cleared and the water level receded, it was visually evident that a violent struggle, quite possibly a homicide, had preceded the fire. But where was the victim? The waterlogged bloodstains in the function room told us it wasn’t likely they stood up and walked out the door. We were confronted with an unusual dilemma. We not only had to investigate what happened and develop probable cause to make an arrest, but we also had to locate the poor soul who had spilled so much of their blood.”

​Walk the path of the investigation with Bill and his team, and then follow in ADA Adrienne Lynch’s footsteps as she guides the trial from opening statements through to the final verdict; a truly unique accounting with a bird’s eye view.

Beyond a police and courtroom procedural, this story is about the personal struggles in the victim’s life and how her death impacted her family’s lives in ways no one could have foreseen. It is a love story that grew from unspeakable tragedy.

​Bill Powers writes from the heart because he spent twenty years living the life of a homicide investigator. He went to literally hundreds of death scenes and, while each made its mark, none had more of a personal effect on him than this case.
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Guest Post

Why Did I Decide to Self-Publish?

The answer to why I decided to self-publish versus taking the traditional route of signing a contract with a large publishing house is the same as why I chose one college and law school over the others. Because one accepted me and the other one(s) didn’t.

Like any new author, I anticipated literary agents would battle over the opportunity to represent my manuscript. Hollywood showrunners would be knocking on my door wanting to develop the book into a six-episode Netflix classic. But none of that happened. 

Following the general rules of engagement, I wrote incredible query letters and included them with packages of information about me, my work, the genre, and the potential audiences. The wording in all of the documents was candid, forthright and positive. I actually believed I was doing agents a favor by approaching them with my work. I specifically targeted those who advertised, or whose websites stated that they specialized in my type of story and my genre. I mailed them out and waited for their responses.

Almost a year later I am still waiting to hear back from most of them. The few that did respond made comments such as: “the book is too long, cut out fifty or sixty pages and try me again”, or “I wish you had at least a bad cop or two in the storyline”, or “You need to have an established social media and website platform with at least 10,000 followers” or the most candid, personally disturbing, but also true observation, “I read the first 100 pages or so and liked it, but we are at a time and place in the United States that major publishers are not entertaining this type of storyline. Maybe if you could change ...”

So, my decision to self-publish was a simple one and determined by others, and I am honestly fine with it. Yes, it puts the burden on me to market and publicize the book. To devote an enormous amount of time reaching out to others in hopes of getting a mention in traditional media, or an interview for a podcast or blog. But it also presents great challenges, and I love challenges. Tell me I can’t reach a goal that I know can be accomplished with effort, tenacity and patience and I will defy you every time. “When the Smoke Cleared” is a perfect example.

When I started writing my book more than six years ago the thought of self-publishing seemed foolish, but as time went on it became more and more attractive and made sense. For many reasons the pros started to outweigh the cons. For instance, this was my story and my narrative and I wasn’t going to have critics who never waged a battle in my arena dictate and shape the story to their liking. I didn’t want to sell the manuscript to a publishing house and lose my voice, my concerns and all control over the finished product. I’m just not built that way.

I wrote the book because I had a true, factual, and emotional story to tell. I wanted the reader to understand how homicide cases were investigated, and the decisions made about  arrest and prosecutions. Most importantly though, I wanted to relate the anguish and pain of parents that lost their child and siblings that lost their sister. I wanted to show the success of a family who struggled mightily, who chose not to move on by putting their loss behind them, but to move forward and succeed with their daughter and sister always with them in their minds and hearts. I couldn’t let an editor red line or restructure that part of the story. I would be dishonoring our victim and her family if I did.

Meet the Author:
Bill Powers has been active in the Massachusetts law enforcement community since he joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1974. Over time he rose through the ranks and was promoted to the rank of Detective Lieutenant. He commanded the State Police Detective Units (SPDU) in both Middlesex and Suffolk Counties, where he had direct oversight and involvement in more than one hundred homicides. His State Police career came full circle when he was named Commandant of the Recruit Training Academy. He retired as the director of the Media Relations Section. Following his retirement, Bill was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the graduate program for forensic sciences at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). For the next seven years he lectured on criminal investigation and expert testimony to the graduate students. In addition, he produced training seminars for police investigators covering a wide variety of topics. Following his tenure at the BUSM he returned to the law enforcement profession as the Director of Public Safety at Wentworth Institute in Boston. Bill earned an undergraduate degree from Northeastern University with a major in Criminal Justice and a Juris Doctorate degree from the New England School of Law.

He resides South of Boston with his wife Jane. Their two daughters and their families live nearby. He has been blessed with five remarkable grandchildren who sparkle like bright stars in the night sky.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook goodreads


  1. Bill Powers is a new author to me, but I want to thank this blog for the introduction. I look forward to reading this book. Detectives write the best murder books.


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